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EBACE 2008: Phenom soars as family takes shape

Phenom 100, Embraer’s smallest business jet, will certificate later this year, The Phenom 300 is flying and so is manufacturer Embraer. Phil Nasskau reports on the Brazilian company’s latest string of successes

The Embraer Phenom 100 is still on track for certification some time in August or September, says Luis Carlos Affonso, executive vice president for Embraer’s Executive Jets division.

“Flight testing is going very well. We are typically flying 40 or 50 hours a month,” he says. “This is a mature rate of flying, and we are not encountering major problems. We are not having to stop the flight testing to make changes. We don’t want to go through flight testing and then have to change anything. We’re a going through the full envelope as soon as possible.”

The testing programme for the Phenom 100 will total around 1,200 hours for certification and a further 600 hours for maturity. And Embraer has made some changes to the Phenom 100. “We’ve completed the icing tests and found that our design was strong enough not to require boots on the fin,” Affonso says. “The fin’s size has been increased a little and we’ve added a ventral fin – this was to avoid having to fit boots to the dorsal fin.”

Phenom 300



The light jet is progressing well and now features fences on the wings. “We had reached the maximum lift coefficient, but we still tested vortex generators. But, by adding fences we found we could reduce the approach and take-off speeds. By reducing these speeds we make the aircraft safer. The fences reduce speeds between 2% and 3%. They will be production standard. We saw the fences as an optimisation, rather than using them to fix a problem. We saw the opportunity and took it,” Affonso says. Top speed reached so far in dive tests is Mach 0.77.

The 100 has also now finished its cold soak tests. Ship four flew to the Eglin air force base in Florida, US, and spent 12 hours at -40°C (-40°F). As it stands the Phenom 100 is on track for certification just a year after its first flight. Embraer expects certification from the FAA and Brazil’s Departamento de Aviação Civil this year, with EASA approval following in April 2009. The first customer Phenom 100 aircraft is currently in final assembly at the Gavião Peixoto factory.

capability and price point. Is it a light jet or a VLJ? It’s a good deal on vale and the price,” says Affonso.

“The Legacy is good value too, especially with its three cabin zones. Is it a super mid-size or a large aircraft? I don’t know, but I like the cabin!” he adds.

The Phenom 300 has had its systems powered on back in March and was rolled out on April 12. And when it flew for the first time on April 29, it became Embraer’s first aircraft to make a maiden flight at Gavião Peixoto. “The Phenom 300’s first flight gives us great confidence for the upcoming programme milestones,” says Affonso. The second 300 is also on the final assembly line.

Embraer is looking to keep the Phenom connection strong by getting common type ratings for the pair of jets. The 300 has an increased cabin length of 350mm (14in) without changing anything from the original targets, making it more comfortable but more flexible – it can now feature a fully enclosed lavatory.

Only Phenom 100s will be produced in 2008, with a target of between10 and 15 aircraft. This will ramp up sharply in 2009, with production of 120-150 aircraft, mainly 100s, because the 300 will only just be entering service. “As ramp-ups mature we think there will be one Phenom 300 for every three 100s,” says Affonso.

Embraer is also considering the possibility of adding steep approach capability. “Airports such as London City are probably too expensive for this type of aircraft, so steep approach certification was not a requirement for the 100 or 300. But afterwards, anything is possible. As we get closer to certification we’ll determine what’s going to happen. There is some demand from the EU market for this capability,” Affonso adds.

He believes the 300 competes with aircraft such as theCessna CJ3 and CJ4. “It has the same capabilities as a CJ4, but with a more competitive price point. It costs CJ3 money, and gives you CJ4 capability,” he says. “The 100 competes with VLJs and some of the light jets, but these segments are such soft areas.”

The company has firm commitments and orders for over 700 Phenoms in 44 countries. Moving up the Embraer family, the Lineage 1000 is coming along just nicely, says Affonso. “The first Lineage was at PATS by the end of 2007, the second has flown at Sao Jose dos Campos and is at PATS now.”

Embraer has orders for around 20 Lineages and is highlighting two of its cabin zones here at EBACE. “We are offering a standard selection of interiors,” says Affonso. “Normally, wide bodies have individual interiors. The Lineage may offer a standard selection, but within these selections there are still 5,000 combinations of cabin configuration. This makes it easier to build, and quicker, but still gives the ability for customisation,” he says.

A key advantage over its competitors is the ability to land at London City, Aspen and Teterboro. “The main competitors cannot use these airfields. Only the A318 Elite can use London City. “Aspen is limited by a wingspan cap of about 29m (95ft) and a maximum weight of 100,000lbs. Teterboro is also weight-capped at 100,000lbs. “The Lineage can do that, and offers the range of 4,200nm,” says Affonso.


Flight's ACAS Buisness Aviation

Flight's 2008 pocket guide to business aircraft

For blogs, video, pictures, and more news from EBACE 2008, click here.

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